Well it is certainly doable, but only you can know is such an itinerary suits you and your interests and your budget, of course.
IMO 12 days in Andalucia is perhaps a bit more than needed. If you are flying direct from Chicago/USA then I assume you can get a flight to Seville. Assuming, again, self drive then a nice round trip could look like Seville (3 nights) - Ronda/Jerez/Malaga (over 2 nights) - Granada (2 nights) - Cordoba (1 night).
This still gives you the best part of a week around Barcelona, which will be plenty.
The key cities to know the main cultures of Spain are:
* Seville, the gate to Andalusia (The Moorish & Mediterranean influence)
* San Sebastian, the gate to Basque (An ancient European culture & language of unknown origin)
* Salamanca, one of the gates to Castile, the heart of Spain from the Middle Age.
* Madrid, the capital of Spain and the "meeting point" of all national cultures. Madrid is often called the "breakwater" of all the Spanish cultures.
All of the places Revulgo mentions are beautiful and worthy of visiting but can you do everything in one go - my advice is no. Pick three regions and enjoy at your own pace. Andalucia, Castile and Catalonia will be a wonderful introduction to a beautiful country. The Basque region, Galicia and perhaps my personal favourite for scenery and wine-drinking, Rioja can all be seen next time !
Revulgo describes the different cultures of Spain very well. Some people say 3 nights is enough in Barcelona and some say 10 nights is not enough. You should consider some side trips if you stay 7 nights, like Girona, Vilanova il Geltru, Tarragona etc. Madrid deserves 3 or 4 nights, go to Toledo and/or Segovia. Then Seville, my favorite city anywhere for 3 or 4 nights. Cordoba is best done as a daytrip. Granada needs 2 nights, also my favorite small city anywhere. From there you could spend extra nights in Malaga, Ronda, Jerez, Cadiz (beach). Andalucia is extremely hot from July through Sep., like West Texas hot.
Thanks all of you to your suggestions! We still have many months to play around with our itinerary but it's coming together. Thanks again!
i agree re madrid etc . or maybe lisbon?
Thanks everyone and I'll be asking you more specifics as we get closer to next year's trip. We have a great tentative schedule of where we're going. We're not those that totally "plan" out every detail since, at least with us, it is never works out that way. Thanks again! :)
Yes Andalucia is hot in the summer with Costa de a Luz (Atlantic coast) a bit cooler than the rest. I do think you could fill 12 days in Andalucia including somme smaller places but July/August is not the best time for it.
The Castilles (Madrid, Toledo, Salamanca et al) will also be very hot then whereas Galicia and the north coast "Green Spain" is cooler. We were there last summer and it is very beautiful and very different from both Catalonia and Andalucia. In fact we drove across Castille (overnights in Burgos, Astorga and Lugo) to Santiago then went along the north coast and spent a week in a holiday cottage near Vilaviciosa (asturias) before heading back to Santander and then La rioja.
Barcelona has very high humidity in the summer so that cuts down your energy for sightseeing. 7 days is plenty for Barcelona incl. day-trips (to girona, tarragona, Monstserrat et al); or you do do 3-4 days in Barcelona and a few days on mid-Costa Brava and visit Girona and smaller towns and villages from there.
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Hello - We did Andalusia for 14 days last year and it was perfect. Fly into seville and spend 2 or 3 nights. Then take the TGV train 45mn to Cordoba and spend 2 nights. It's a lovely liitle town and our accomodation was super (let me know if you need the name). From Cordoba catch a train to Granada (about 3 hours). I wouldn't spend more than 2 nights in Granada. The highlight is Alhambra (out of this world - amazing) but the town itself doesn't have much to offer except bad food and bad service.
From Granada, you will need to rent a car because getting down to the coast is not very practical by train.
The drive is pleasant and if I recall well, about 2 hours.
Hope this help...Let me know if you need additional info